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Family Owned & Operated Since 1902
314 Church St. | P.O. Box 12
Stevensville, Montana, 59870
Phone 406-777-5711 | Fax 406-777-0181
Email: whitesittfh@gmail.com

Vera Eileen Johnson Dowdy

Died: Fri., Jan. 16, 2015

Graveside Service

1:00 PM Sat., Sep. 12, 2015
Location: Maplewood Cemetery

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Edmonds, WA - Vera Eileen Dowdy died on January 16, 2015, at the age of 92, reuniting in heaven with the love of her life and husband of 68 years, Harold Eugene Dowdy. Vera was born in Stevensville, Montana to Claude M. and Helen Alice Lea Johnson on May 2, 1922. She grew up on a dairy farm in Stevensville and has always been fond of the Bitterroot Valley. Vera loved growing up on a farm, especially the horses. Early memories as a young girl of three or four involve Vera’s awareness of angels and her belief that she had seen one. The beginning of her strong and always-growing faith included her discovery at the age six or seven that she did not espouse a vengeful, punishing God, but a loving God. Further experiences at camp as a teenager solidified her Christian faith as based on God’s love and loving the people in her life. Vera always had many friends, and scrapbooking photos of friends and movie stars became a hobby. Years of lessons and practice enabled her to become an accomplished pianist. She graduated from Stevensville High School in 1939, and began to pursue a career in nursing at Great Falls. Soon after, she instead sought education in business, settling in at Northwestern Business College in Spokane, Washington. It was there where she met many lifelong friends, including Harold. While living in Spokane, in a big white house owned by a Mrs. Twitchett, there blossomed a lifelong relationship between several young ladies rooming there. During these years, they joined the USO and worked to support the war efforts for their country, which meant they could spend time dancing with soldiers at the USO dances at Spokane’s Natatorium Park. Gradually, each young lady met and married their lifelong loves, and kept in close touch for the rest of their lives, becoming “The Twitchetts” who played an important role in the life of each child born into those relationships. Round Robin letters between the families circulated for over sixty years, bringing excitement to each home when the envelope full of letters arrived. Vacations together were moments that became treasured memories. Vera met Harold while he visited friends at the Army Transportation office where she worked, and he had worked previously. He was on furlough from the Army at that time, and spoke to her briefly, a conversation she said brought sparks. Later that evening, he called her for a date. She agreed, and invited another couple to double. They danced at ‘the Nat’ and dated again a few days later before he returned to Camp Roberts, where he told his barrack mates that he had met the woman he planned to marry. He showered her with telephone calls, letters, and flowers. When his time of service was over and they began dating again, Vera realized that he was the man she wanted to spend the rest of her life with. And indeed, they were married on August 10, 1946, and settled in Moscow, Idaho, where Harold attended the University of Idaho. In Moscow, in October of 1947, their first child, Deanna Lea was born, rather earlier than the couple had chosen to start their family. But Vera decided later that God had chosen the time well. During Deanna’s first year, Vera’s mom became very ill, and Harold thought it very important for her to return to Stevensville to care for Helen. So Vera and the baby did go, and she witnessed moments of tenderness and joy between grandmother and granddaughter, until Helen passed away in their presence when Deanna was 15 months old. Soon after, Harold’s career moved the little family to Seattle, Washington. In their home town of Kirkland, their second child, Robert “Bobbie” Nolan, was born and lived only two days. In 1953 daughter Laurie Jill arrived, and John David, the last child of their union, was born in 1957. More than fifty years after Bobbie’s death, a grave-side family memorial for was held for him, and Vera finally had closure to the grief of his loss. The family spent 22 years in Kirkland, Washington. Vera was actively involved in Redmond Methodist Church and was an integral part in chartering Lake Washington Methodist Church. She was Sunday School Superintendent for many years, active in youth work, women’s groups and studies, pursuing her life’s interest in learning of God’s love and passing it to every person around her. She was employed at Lake Washington Special Education Center for many years, truly loving the people and students there, keeping in touch with many for years to come. In 1971 Harold’s work took them to Redwood City, California. They joined Woodside Road Methodist Church and were actively involved for years. She helped care for her father and Harold’s father. She became a hospice volunteer, her natural love and care helping many through their grief and loss. During their years there, Vera and Harold loved square dancing, one more avenue through which they made dear friends. A few years after Harold retired, the couple moved back to the state of Washington, loving and living in their beautiful home beside Lake Steilacoom for 21 years. They were active members of the United Methodist Church at Lakewood, travelled around the country with friends, did a lot of square dancing and enjoyed their grandbabies and great-grandbabies. And of course, they developed additional lasting friendships. Vera was the most happy, loving and caring person in the world. The losses in her early life accentuated her life-long appreciation for people around her. She showed her love and care to each person, as if it may be the last time she could. She was close to many family members and had many close, loving friends. She passed this treasure of life and relationships on to her children, grandchildren, some of her oldest great-grandchildren and many others around her. Preceding her in death were her husband; infant son; her parents; and a brother, Norman Johnson. Vera is survived by her children, Deanna (Duane) Theiss of Mountlake Terrace, WA; Laurie Whitaker of Redmond, WA; and John Dowdy of Redwood City, CA; seven grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren; two brothers, George (Carolyn) Johnson of Santa Maria, CA and Doug (Verle) Johnson of Missoula, MT, numerous other relatives, and the remaining “Twitchetts” Elwood and Betty Knouse of Lake Oswego, OR. A celebration of Vera’s and Harold’s lives will be held on Saturday, September 12, 2015 at 1:00 P.M. when they are laid to rest together at Maplewood Cemetery in Stevensville. Memorial donations may be made in her name to Alzheimer’s Association at www.alz.org, or 800-272-3900, or mail to 2290 N 1st St. Suite 101, San Jose, CA 95131.

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